ODU Website Redesign 2012
Old Dominion University's website will soon be sporting a new look. The redesign will not only change the look of the site, it will also transform the way information is organized and accessed. The ultimate goal of the redesign is to give users an easily navigable and more interactive experience when using our site. The site will feature a design that conveys ODU's rigorous academics, cutting-edge research and collaborations, the cosmopolitan community surrounding the university and the impressive modern campus.
The following is a brief tour of some of the more significant changes to the website. If you have questions or suggestions about the site, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Site Structure, Organization & "Browseability"
Content in the new ODU website is structured for maximum "browseability." To this end, content is now organized by related content and topics and not necessarily by what department or unit "owns" the content. Each page also has a "sidebar," which typically offers links and snippets of content related to what you are currently viewing.
Content in the new ODU website is structured for maximum browseability. To achieve this, content is now organized by related content and topics about which users may want information, not necessarily by what unit "owns" the content. Each page also has a "sidebar," which typically offers links and snippets of content related to what you are currently viewing.
Universal Navigation & Dynamic Breadcrumb
Universal navigation is a key component of a successful design. Users can access any of the major sections of the site (About ODU, Academics, University Life, Admission & Aid, Research & Impact and Athletics) from anywhere else on the site. A "breadcrumb" (always located under the main page title) will tell you where you are on the site and provide a menu for shortcuts. In other words, the site will be easier to navigate and search.
Website users will no longer have to hunt down contact information for content questions. The contact information for the unit responsible for the content on any given page, will be prominently displayed on top of the sidebar.
Academics/Academic Degree Programs
One of the primary goals of the project is to bring the academic degree programs up to the university level. This allows prospective and current students and faculty to easily access the university's degree programs, view consistent information about each and navigate between related programs.
A search function is under development that will allow the user to filter the degree program list by characteristics such as degree level, type of degree and academic college. After launch, this search will be further enhanced to offer additional filters and search criteria.
Each degree program is unique and as such, requires information tailored specifically to its needs. This information includes the relevant academic college, department, degree earned, contact information, description, related experiences (internships, research, etc.), career directions, related programs and admission requirements. Each program will also link directly to the application for that program. Departments may further enhance the degree program pages with optional elements such as video, photo galleries, outstanding faculty, scholarship information and other components.
News & Events
The new news and events features allow the sharing of these items across various parts of the website. An event from a department can also appear on the college's calendar as well as the university's master calendar. News can be tagged to appear under several categories. This allows the news and events to come to the user, rather than asking the user to seek them out.
Every university employee has his or her own directory page in the new website. Each employee starts with the basic directory page, which is the same information that displayed as the result of a directory search on the old website. This is the information from Banner that is considered part of the public record.
Teaching and research faculty and some administrative faculty have records in the Faculty Activity System (FAS) or Digital Measures. If there is information in that system, the FAS information is overlaid on the Banner data. FAS will eventually be opened to all employees to help them round out their university profiles.
The final layer comes from within CQ5 (the Web content management system). Each department has a list of "noted staff" that comprise the departmental directory page. In order for a person to appear in one of these lists, a website administrator must tag that person with one of the noted staff roles.
Each department has a departmental directory page. These pages currently contain a list of noted staff, as identified by the department. The departmental directory pages are also hierarchical, meaning that there is a component in the sidebar that shows where that department falls in the university organizational chart. Users can navigate the organizational chart using that sidebar component.
The new website structure changes the focus and purpose of office pages (as stated above, there are no sites, just pages). Most content should be in the main section of the website. This leaves the unit pages as places to speak about what the unit does for the university, what it is accomplishing and provide users with a platform to interact with the office. The unit pages are also an ideal place to create a communications center for employees within the unit.
Under each unit page, there is the unit's directory page. There is also a link to the "index of content." The index of content shows a list of all content on the website for which that unit is responsible. The list can be displayed within the website hierarchy or as an A to Z index. The index of content provides a means of finding a piece of content's new home for those who are familiar with the former website structure to find the content they seek.
Unit pages are now accessed via simple URL. Rather than www.odu.edu/ao/registrar, the link is now www.odu.edu/registrar. This will help users more easily find the unit page as well as assist with marketing materials.
The primary audiences for the university are future students, business & partners, community, alumni & friends, faculty & staff and current students. We recognize that there are many subsets of these groups, many of which span our primary audiences and that each of these subsets have their own distinct needs within the university.
The hub pages work to address these sub-audiences. The hubs pages collect links for a particular sub-audience and organize them in a fashion that helps members of these sub-audiences to easily find the content they need and/or access most.
Sub-audiences include military, international students, faculty emeriti and others.